L.A. Kings Net Whisperer stifles the snipers
Jonathan Quick has become an elite puckstopper in the NHL, but that doesnt mean the Kings star wants to talk about it
By Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun columnist
April 21, 2012
Goaltender Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings shown here making a save off Vancouver forward Alex Burrows has only surrendered seven goals in four playoff games against the Canucks and was unbeatable Sunday in Game 3 when the Kings posted a 1-0 victory at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Photograph by: Andy Clark, Reuters , Vancouver Sun
LOS ANGELES Most days Jonathan Quick says as little as Darryl Sutter, but with better enunciation.
He isnt mumbling when he says nothing.
But like his coach with the Los Angeles Kings, Quick is intensely driven. He wants to be a goaltender with more than great statistics in the regular season. Quick wants to win, but good luck getting him to fully articulate that desire when cameras are rolling.
Bill Ranford, the teams goaltending coach, knows exactly how Quick feels because he was wired the same way as a player.
I think were probably a lot alike in our approach and having that will to win, Ranford said Friday after the Kings practised ahead of Game 5 of their National Hockey League playoff series Sunday in Vancouver. I tried to lead by example, what I did on the ice, and I really didnt say a whole lot in the dressing room. Hes kind of got the same attitude as I had. Its about wins and nothing else. Sometimes that can be a detriment, but its something about him that I like.
There is much to like about Quick, unless youre a reporter looking for a snappy quote. Quoteless Joe (Sakic) and Captain Serious (Jonathan Toews) have nothing on Quick, who may be the quietest guy in the series but has made the most impact so far.
The Canucks have changed goalies. The Kings goalie merely changed.
Two years ago when the Canucks eliminated the Kings in six games, Quick was a mercurial 24-year-old, first-year starter prone to erratic moments. Now he is one of the steadiest and best goaltenders in the NHL, a technically superb, unflappable all-star who had 10 shutouts during the regular season and whose 1.95 goals-against average would have been eye-popping had St. Louis Blues co-starter Brian Elliott not thrown a 1.56 at the hockeys history books.
Quick is not the same guy the Canucks dusted two years ago when Vancouver scored 21 goals in six games. He has allowed just seven through four games while stopping 95.2 per cent of the shots hes faced.
I think he wants to be with that elite group of goaltenders who not only are good goaltenders and have good stats that are ranked high, but they win, Los Angeles centre Jarret Stoll said. He wants to be a champion and wants to win a Stanley Cup. He knows the steps he has to take and hes taken a lot of them the last two years.
There are just no holes in him. If he lets a goal in, its either been a great shot or a deflection or a lucky bounce. Hes a wall back there. He doesnt say much, and when he says things its from the heart. He takes a lot of pride in his game.
Much of that comes from Ranford, who played junior hockey in New Westminster for Punch McLean, won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 and launched his coaching career eight years ago with Don Hay and the WHLs Vancouver Giants.
The thing that surprised me and everybody on our team about Punch was his respect for the game, Ranford explained about his approach. You hear about this guy and about the brawling and everything, but our guys werent allowed to fight for the first 10 games because he felt we had to learn the game and play it properly and have respect for the game.
Thats something you never forget as a player. You try to take that love of the game and understanding of the game as a coach myself. They may call it old school, but I guess I have a lot of old school with me. My values behind that havent changed.
Quick was unfocused enough as a professional early in his career that the Kings demoted him to the ECHL from their American Hockey League affiliate during the 2007-08 season. A year later, Quick got a call up to the Kings and never left the NHL.
He has won 109 games in three years as a starter but hasnt made it past the first round of the playoffs. Quick is among the hardest-working Kings, devoted to his craft and fully committed to his team.
Ranfords respect for the game has rubbed off.
Hes been huge, not only to me but all the goalies in our organization, Quick said. Hes got a good grasp on what it takes mentally and physically to succeed at this level. And him having done it in the past, it gives him a little more knowledge.
We dont really talk about his experience, but when hes trying to help me he draws on that experience.
About his own evolution, Quick shrugged: Its just kind of a natural progression that everyone goes through. You pick up experience, and two more years of coaching at this level pays dividends. Its just a natural progression.
Thats just his personality, Ranford said of Quicks below-the-radar nature. Hes a guy who likes to sleep a lot and is kind of low key. It hurt him early on in his career, missing a few meetings and stuff. But hes a family man now, married and with a young daughter, and has settled into a life hes comfortable with. This is about as excited as he gets.
Hes a little bit more experienced than he was two years ago and his game has become much more consistent. Hes become a leader in our dressing room.
The strong, silent type.
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